Finnish table tennis can thank the world for its globalizationPhoto: Czech Table Tennis Association/Jan Brychta
Finnish championships gave for the first time for years really new and surprising champions. Even so surprising that most of the attendees had never seen all the masters ever before!
However, not all the masters are surprising, as Benedek OLÁH took his his eighth Men's Singles title after an overwhelming show. The finalist was the same as a year ago, 17-year-old Alex NAUMI, who suffered a 1-4 defeat.
OLÁH had no real difficulties at any point during the competition. OLÁH, playing his second season in France's main league, may be in the best shape of his career and definitely wants to join the Tokyo Olympic tables. OLÁH also took the men's doubles victory together with NAUM.
A new champion was crowned in Women's Singles when favourite Anastasiia BURKOVA, was beating Marina DONNER 4-2. Still on Saturday, in group matches, DONNER was better. The best match of the whole competition was seen in Women's Singles semi-final when BURKOVA defeated Anna KIRICHENKO in 4-3 and 17-15 in the seventh set. Like OLÁH, BURKOVA became a double champion, as she won Women's Doubles with Sofie ERIKSSON.
The most surprising title in the tournament was the victory in Men's Doubles won by Marina DONNER and Johan PETTERSSON from Åland. The players live on the island and play in Sweden, and for most Finns they were completely new acquaintances.
PETTERSSON is a left-handed player born in Sweden. He has been playing in Spårvägen. DONNER moved to Sweden from Sotshi area 20 years ago and studied there as a doctor. He married a Finnish man and the twin moved to Åland. At least the 36-year-old will not end up in fitness, as she is also one of Finland's top performers in triathlon!
So the Finnish champion was a couple, one of whom was from Russia and the other was Sweden. The winner of Women's Singles is Russian and the parents of Men's Singles winner moved to Finland from Hungary. Anna KIRICHENKO'S parents moved to Finland from Russia. Father of Men's Doubles gold medalist Miikka 0´CONNOR'S father, moved to Finland from England. It is also noted that the mother tongue of Women's Doubles winner Sofie ERIKSSON is Swedish.
Indeed, Finnish table tennis can thank the world for its globalization. And we like to do it!
Finnish Championships Tampere
1) Benedek Oláh
2) Alex Naum 13-11,11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8
3) Miikka O'Connor and Samuli Soine
1) Anastasiia Burkova
2) Marina Donner 5-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7, 15-13
3) Anna Kirichenko and Sofie Eriksson
1) Benedek Oláh/Alex Naumi
2) Otto Tennilä/Miikka O'Connor 11-2, 11-13, 10-12, 11-9, 11-7
3) Pasi Valasti/Mika Räsänen and Toni Soine/Samuli Soine
1) Anastasiia Burkova/Sofie Eriksson
2) Anna Kirichenko/Elli Rissanen
3) Jannika Oksanen/Marina Donner
1) Johan Pettersson/Marina Donner
2) Matias Ojala/Sofie Eriksson 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 14-12
3) Pasi Valasti/Jannika Oksanen and Miikka O´Connor/Pihla Eriksson
More detailed results (only in Finnish):